New Year is a big day in Korea as it is the day everyone turns one year older. Since everyone is one on the day they are born the babies born in December are now 2 in Korean age. This can be confusing for non-Koreans though (especially those who would rather subtract years from their age). This age thing matters in Korea though as it will determine your placement among others so it’s easier to count from the start of the year. Remember how Taemin and Kai we’re debating if they could be 친구 chingus (See post)
Another staple of New Year’s are the numerous award shows for both television and music. Many of these take place on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. There’s also a lot of variety programs with special new year’s music.
Added to the busy new year program schedule, this year SM Entertainment also offered a free online concert by many of their artists over various streaming platforms. From initial counts they had more than 35 million viewers from 186 countries tune in to see artists like Super Junior, NCT, Red Velvet, TVXQ, SuperM and more. While some questioned why EXO-SC wasn’t in the lineup and some thought there was a disproportionate number of NCT performances, overall fans were very happy and impressed. All the acts participated in the collaborative song Hope for the concert as well.
The meal to welcome the new year is traditionally tteokguk (떡국) — a rice cake soup. The rice cakes used (garaetteok) are sliced like medallion shapes to symbolize a bright and prosperous year ahead. So families also add mandu (Korean dumplings) to tteokguk, in which case the soup is called tteok-manduguk (떡만두국). You can use any kind of mandu in the soup - beef, pork, vegetable, kimchi or a mixture. The making of dumplings gives the family time to reflect and look forward to the year ahead.
Jung IlWoo (Cinderella and the Four Knights) shared his family recipe for dumplings on his Youtube channel. Having survived a serious car accident and now living with a cerebal aneurysm he has decided to “live” everyday and is now sharing some of his interests on his channel while continuing to act in dramas and on stage.
Do you have any special New Year’s tradition?